Must-Read Mentor Text: Who Do Leaves Change Colors?

I have a confession:
I am in love.
Totally head-over-heels in love.
With fall!
Reminds me of being on the coast with my hubby. Love that we celebrate our anniversary there every year!! The cool, crisp air on my face. The smell of the ocean. And of course all the farm stands along 46 and visiting our favorite, HammerSky Vineyards!
It is by far my favorite season.
I love the crisp air.
The apple cider.
The smell of backyard fires.
Pumpkins and gourds.
The fall decor.
And most of all:
the changing colors of the leaves.

This is my new mantra:
Fall! #firstdayoffall #happyautumn

One of my favorite books to read during the Fall season is...
It's written in a basic, kid-friendly format for lower-elementary students, but I love to read it to my fifth graders - because they don't know the answer to the question posed in the title! :)
Do you know the answer?
If not - then this is the book for you!
First of all...
The illustrations are beautiful:
Included in the book are examples
of what different leaves look like:
 It even goes into some pretty in-depth science,
with a dissection of a leaf:
It's informative, colorful, and festive
...the perfect book to read in the fall!
To merge my loves of fall and all things crafty,
ere are some leaf activity ideas for the home or the classroom: 
Leaf Lanters:
A Little Fall Leaf Re-use Project
Create a Leaf lantern this Fall. Just leaves + Modge Podge. I use teeny tea lights inside the jar. Line the walk way or use as table toppers.
.Just leaves + Modge Podge. Use tea lights to add a nice glow.
Stained Glass Leaf Craft:
stain glass leaf craft
Leaf Print Painting:
Leaf craft
Leaf mobile:
Google Image Result for

~Happy Fall, My Friends!~

Sparking Student Motivation: Homework Hotel

LOVE Saturday mornings, especially when it's NOT Saturday. Waking up feeling blessed that every day is like a Saturday right now. :)
My heart smiles at the truth of this picture! I am lounging in my fuzzy pajamas, sipping some tea, and watching "I Love Lucy" - my husband and I's latest Saturday morning tradition :)

I am linking up with my bud, Joanne, from "Head Over Heels for Teaching" to share an idea that has really revolutionized how my students turn in their homework and how I check for missing work.
Introducing...the Homework Hotel!

I bought one of the large pocket charts from Lakeshore
and numbered the pockets to use year after year:
When a student enters the room in the morning, they look on the white board to see what they need to turn it. If students have two (or three) things to turn in, I have the order written on the board that I want the papers turned in. They pull out their homework assignment and place it in their "Homework Hotel" - it's called the Hotel because it only stays for a brief visit :)

I can quickly see who has and who hasn't turned in their homework  
and can stand there and fill in Late Homework Passes for students whose pockets are empty.

I also use it when students are taking a quiz or a test. I can see which students were confident in their knowledge and turned it in quickly and which need some more time.

When I pull the papers out, the papers are already in number out and I can quickly catch who didn't put their name on the papers - no more dreaded "NO NAME" papers! :)

Do you have an easy strategy for collecting Homework?
I'm always open for more ideas!

And hop on over to Joanne's page to link up with motivating ideas for the classroom!

Something else that sparked my motivation this morning was waking up and seeing my "Frindle MEGA Packet" featured in the "Teacher's Notebook" Newsletter 
Click the links to check out the Mega Packet on Teacher's Notebook or Teachers Pay Teachers

The WINNER of my Frindle Giveaway is...
Congratulations, Holly - check your e-mail! :)

Five for Friday: "In-Tents" Reading, Cause & Effect, and Frindle...oh my!

;) So tired, but feel like I should do something on a Friday!
I do! I do! 
Happy Friday, everyone! :)
I'm linking up with "Doodle Bugs" 
to share what we've been up to:
1. Scholastic Book Order
Do you send home Scholastic Book Club flyers? 
They're a great way to get books into the hands of your students - plus you earn bonus points from each order that you can use to stock your classroom library! I have used my points to buy TONS of great books for my kiddos as well as lesson plan idea/activity books to help with planning.
In September, Scholastic does a special deal...
if a teacher places a $300 order during the month, they earn 10,000 bonus points (*in addition to the points you earn for the books purchased)
Well when I heard about this deal, I was all over it.
I found this great resource from Laura Candler:
FREE Earn 10,000 Scholastic Bonus Points (2013)
The packet includes a sample parent letter and some activities to use to promote the deal in your classroom.
After sharing about the program with my students and their parents, I printed out this page to track our progress:
And each time the students brought in an order, I colored in the stars. Within one week, we had reached our goal!
2. "In-Tents" Reading Party!
To celebrate reaching our Scholastic goal, we had an 
"In-Tents" Reading Party!
The students were invited to bring in blankets, pillows, flashlights, and books as we celebrated our love of reading!
As the students read, I came around and passed out some goodies - a snack and these cute bookmarks
I made for each of them:
The template for these bookmarks came from the creative Catherine from The Brown-Bag Teacher
Reading Strategies Bookmarks: Personalized Freebie
...and my kiddos LOVED them! 
I was amazed at how excited they were - they were so touched that I spent the time to make individual ones for each of them with their names on them :)
3. Cause and Effect Partner Activity:
We studied Cause and Effect in Reading class this week:
It started out with a reading of this classic book:
and then we used this awesome *FREE* PowerPoint game to identify different examples of cause and effect:
If You Give an Elephant a Peanut
Click HERE to snag it for FREE from Erin Vogel's TPT store.
And lastly, to extend our learning and assess our understanding, we did several activities from my
"Cause and Effect Activity Packet"
The kids had a BLAST with the Partner Activity:
I handed each student an orange puzzle piece that contained either a cause of effect.
They had to walk around the room and find their partner - the one with the matching cause or effect. Once they did, they brainstormed together to create a short story based on their puzzle pieces:
4. Frindle:
We finished our first read-aloud of the year,
Frindle by Andrew Clements.
I have made a FUN and ENGAGING 40-page packet
of activities to supplement a unit on the book:
Click HERE to see the post about
how I used these activities in the classroom.
I'm giving away a FREE copy of the packet - click HERE to enter!
~The giveaway ends TONIGHT!~
5. September Swap: "Read All About It" Centers
This week I reviewed an awesome packet of LA Centers from Diane at "Fifth in the Middle"
Click HERE to see the post - and check out a lot of awesome products that were reviewed in the September Swap.

September Product Swap: Fifth in the Middle's "Read All About It" Centers

Happy Thursday! 
I am so excited and honored to be part of a fabulous group of bloggers who journey through life together: we share stories, bounce ideas off of one another, and look to one another for advice or suggestions.
And one of the fun things we decided to do was a Product Swap:
and I was so blessed to be partnered up with
the dynamic Diane from Fifth in the Middle
Fifth in the Middle
Diane was one of the first bloggers that I got to "know" when I first started my journey in the blogging world - and she has been such a wonderful source of ideas, advice, and proof-reading help! :)

I perused Diane's TpT store and had a hard time deciding on just one product to try with my kiddos. I finally narrowed it down to her "Read All About It!" Newspaper Center activities:
The awesome 40-page packet comes with 5 fun center ideas:
Editor-in-Chief - Students will find twenty mistakes, one in each sentence.
My students did this activity in pairs during reading centers:
They each got a recording sheet and a set of the cards.
 They read each card and then decided where the error was:
 Then, when they were finished, they checked their tracking sheet with the answer key:

 Newspaper Scramble - Students will make smaller words out of the word "newspaper."
My students got so competitive with this activity! 
One of my girls came up with 37 words! :)

 Classified Sort - Students will categorize ads.
The students were given cards and then had to sort them into the correct category: 
Help Wanted
Lost & Found
For Sale
This one was somewhat challenging for my kiddos - too many of them have never even opened up a newspaper!

 In the News? - Students will determine if information can be found in a newspaper, an almanac, a dictionary, or an encyclopedia.
I've saved this one - we're going to pull it out when we do our unit on reference materials.

 Synonym Swap - Students will group together synonyms.
This was an AWESOME center that helped students see the boring words that needed to be replaced with more vivid, interesting words. It gave them good practice on the concept of synonyms.

In the end, it was a very thorough, engaging, and valuable packet that provided my students with hands-on practice of some real-life skills. Great work, Diane! :)

Check out Diane's review of my product, "Spelling Surprise"

Check out the other fun product swaps:

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